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Nov 23, 2015 Blog, Recipes

As American as Old Town Apple Pie

As American as Old Town Apple Pie

Yes, it’s time for me to go into high gear with my baking and other prep for Thursday! Thanksgiving Day always makes me competitive with my favorite frenemy—me! I love to bake and cook, but like so many of us, despite years of success, I go right ahead and worry that this year will mark the one time the bread doesn’t rise, the turkey turns tough and the desserts will be left uneaten.

Fortunately, I’ve been wrong on this score for about twenty-five years and everybody continues to show up at the table on time.  And one dish my family and I always count on is my apple pie. So from me to you in time for the holiday, here’s my take on one of America’s favorite traditional recipes.

Mary Ellen Taylor Old Town Apple PieMary Ellen’s Old Town Apple Pie

Filling

8-9 Tart Apples (such as Granny Smith)
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 9-inch pastry crusts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and thinly slice apples. In a bowl mix together sugar, cinnamon, flour and sugar. Pour over sliced apples and toss well. Let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. Place pastry crust in a greased pie pan. Drain any excess from apples and place in pastry crust. Cover apples with second pastry crust. Slice four slits or vents in the top pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Pastry Crust

2 ½ cups All Purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 sticks butter, chilled
1/3 cup chilled water

Place flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Slice butter into cubes and add to flour mixture. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour into it resembles a coarse meal. Add the water and blend with flour-butter mixture. Form into a smooth ball and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour before dividing in half and rolling into two crusts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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May 14, 2015 Blog, Home Page

And About Those Witch Bottles . . .

And About Those Witch Bottles . . .

Mary Ellen Taylor AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET image witch bottle from Wikipedia publicThere’s been a little bit of buzz about the witch bottle Addie discovers in present day Alexandria in AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET and whether or not I invented it for this book.  The answer is that witch bottles aren’t fictional.  They’re part of our history. Hundreds of years ago the fear of witches was very real.  We forget that in the colonial era and before then, death was always close.  Women wishing to protect their families against evil or even to curse others created these bottles, often under the light of the full moon. The bottle was filled with sharp objects designed to attack the evil and it was also filled with items close to the creator—buttons, strands of hair, bits of clothing, herbs and even blood.

You can see the first mention of witch bottles in AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET and find out how they’re made here.

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May 5, 2015 Blog, Contests

Celebrating “Pub Date” with a Giveaway: Win SWEET EXPECTATIONS and A UNION STREET BAKERY Apron!!

Celebrating “Pub Date” with a Giveaway: Win SWEET EXPECTATIONS and A UNION STREET BAKERY Apron!!

Mary Ellen Taylor AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET cover hi resToday’s the day!  I’m happy to share that AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET is now officially published. Thanks to everyone who’s been checking in about it along the way.  Seems to me it’s the perfect time to launch my latest giveaway and, in keeping with the spirit of the day, to offer a trip to Alexandria’s Old Town and a visit with the folks at The Union Street Bakery. So, honoring the roots of AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, I’m giving away a copy of SWEET EXPECTATIONS and a Union Street Bakery apron.  Hope you’ll join in by entering for a chance to win.
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May 1, 2015 Blog, Contests, Home Page

READ THE BOOK, WEAR THE APRON! THE UNION STREET BAKERY GIVEAWAY

READ THE BOOK, WEAR THE APRON! THE UNION STREET BAKERY GIVEAWAY

AtCornerKingStreet_280I’m so looking forward to AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, my third Old Town Alexandria set novel, being published this coming Tuesday. And, since King Street and Union Street share a corner, it seems a perfect time to give away three copies of THE UNION STREET BAKERY. Oh… and three aprons for the winners to wear while trying out the back of book recipes — Sugar Cookies, Rachel’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes, Hennie’s Freedom Biscuits, and Mike’s Chocolate Espresso Torte. I hope you’ll enter to win one of these three prizes.

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Apr 30, 2015 Blog

Throw-Not So Far Back Thursday

Throw-Not So Far Back Thursday

The Union Street BakeryIt was just over two years ago that my first contemporary women’s fiction book, THE UNION STREET BAKERY was published. Though already published in romantic suspense as Mary Burton, I had these other stories floating around waiting to be told. It was a true labor of love.

Though carving out the time to write this book was a factor, breaking into a whole new part of the book world was irresistible. I felt that the story was special but wondered if I could find a publisher that was interested? Would anyone read it? (I know, typical writer anxieties . . . )

I’m just happy that first book found a home at Berkley and it resonated with readers—enough so that the third of my Old Town Alexandria novels, AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, is coming out next Tuesday, May 5th. It’s been a wild ride. Thanks for taking it with me.

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